Friday, September 26, 2014

Movie vs. Book "The Maze Runner": Action Trumps Heart

By now, I suppose most people are either on the YA train or they don’t give a shit about it. I happen to be on that train, and not only do I inundate my reading repertoire with YA fiction, but I also watch the movies that studios have been popping out to a diminishing demand. Statistics, like hips, don't lie. YA movies, with the exception of The Hunger Games and that long ago saga of glittering vamps, consistently underperform in the box office. However, The Maze Runner actually came out on top at the box office its first weekend with $32.5 million, targeting a mostly male audience.

I’m glad teenagers are reading, and it makes sense that Hollywood would want to tap into the trending dystopian and paranormal fiction that dominates the genre. I mean, we need only look back to the explosion of the Harry Potter universe to understand that there is something magical behind books coming to life on the screen. It’s this adaptation from written story to screen that I want to focus on, because I find the adaptation of works of art through several different mediums absolutely fascinating. What makes the cut in the film? What parts of the story are molded differently to fit a tighter timeline in cinema? What depth from narrative can be portrayed through a well configured scene? What tones and themes can be relayed with nothing more than cinematography and score?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review: "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner

If you haven't tired of young adults in peril in dystopian worlds, then James Dashner's The Maze Runner may be worth your attention. The book is packed full of action and fast paced turn of events that keep the pages turning. The Maze Runner definitely suffers from characters who are seemingly erratic and inconsistent in their emotional reactions to the events that unfold, and while I'd like to contribute this to the life threatening situations that arise (and hormones), I really felt this issue was embedded in the writing and wasn't true to the characters.

Despite some of these character attribute shortcomings, I was immediately drawn into the plot of the story. We follow the perspective of a teenager named Thomas as he wakes up in an elevator lift with no memory of his personal past. He knows his name and he thinks he knows his intuitive self, but as the lift doors open and he is thrust into a group of sixty teenage boys - his internal propulsion to find out what is going on goes against the society these boys have already constructed.